The Original Growler

The 2017 ORIGINAL GROWLER endurance mountain bike races

  • Saturday May 27, 2016, The Half-Growler, around 32-miles on the dirt* (limited to 350 riders)
  • Sunday May 28, 2016, The Full-Growler, around 64-miles on the dirt*
  • Sunday May 28, 2016, SUNDAY’S HALF GROWLER, around 32-miles on the dirt* (Sunday starters limited to 350 riders)NOTE: Saturday’s race starts at 9am sharp. Sunday’s races start together at 7am sharp and the total field limit for the Full-Growler and Sunday’s Half is 350.

2016 Original Growler Photos – Free downloads of web optimized images

2016 GROWLER RESULTS – Real time Race Results are available at these links:

Saturday’s Results

Sunday’s Results

ARCHIVED Original Growler Results

ARCHIVED Original Growler Photos

*All races start and finish in downtown Gunnison so add around 5 miles of dead flat pavement to these totals.

  • Brought to you by Gunnison Trails and presented by Ergon and SRAM. The Original Growler is owned and operated by Gunnison Trails and is the primary fundraiser for this Colorado 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Gunnison Trails is dedicated to maintaining and expanding the single track experience in the Gunnison area including working toward building the Gunnison to Crested Butte trail. 100% of the proceeds from the Original Growler benefit Gunnison Trails.
  • The Original Growler is for experienced mountain bikers only and takes place in rugged, isolated backcountry terrain. While your safety is our priority and we have a robust EMS plan and experienced and trained personnel, responding to and evacuating an injured rider could be time consuming and difficult.  Riders must possess the skills and judgment necessary to assess difficult and challenging trails and roads and negotiate them in a safe manner. NO BEGINNERS, PLEASE! For comparison, the general character and difficulty of the trails and roads in the Original Growler is similar to those of the BLM Mack Ridge Trail System near Fruita, CO: Mary’s Loop, Lion’s Loop, Horsethief Loop, Steve’s Loop, etc. 

Cancellations, Refunds and Transfers: The Original Growler’s only reason for existence – along with offering you an epic challenge and an amazing experience – is to raise money for Gunnison area trails, trail advocacy and other local non-profits. Details about cancellations, refunds and transfers for 2017 will be available soon.  

Transfers: TBD

SHOP GROWLER APPAREL

HOW DO I REGISTER?

Registration opens December 1, 2017 at 8pm MDT

Register HERE

Each day of racing is capped at 350 riders.

WHERE IS RACER CHECK-IN?

PACKET PICKUP: 3-9pm Friday and Saturday May 26th and 27th will be at Western State Colorado University in the Mountaineer Field House: 700 E. Gothic Ave, Gunnison, CO 81230. All competitors will receive an event hat and coffee mug. DIRECTIONS: From Highway 50/Tomichi Ave., turn north onto Colorado St., go 4 blocks then turn east on Gothic Ave. Go around the roundabout and park, the Mountaineer Field House is the huge building to the northeast and enter through the southwest doors nearest the parking lot. Google 700 E. Gothic Ave. in maps or check out the link above.

THE GREAT GROWLER FOOD DRIVE! The Original Growler is a BYOB Race: Bring Your Own Bag. We try to eliminate waste and clutter by not providing you with any spiffy disposable or reusable bags that nobody needs. Please bring your own, preferably filled with non-perishable food items for the Original Growler Food Drive. Last year we killed it with this and our local food bank was forever grateful for your generosity. The Gunnison Food Pantry will also be on course providing you with support on the pavement after the Powerline descent.

WHAT IS THE SCHEDULE FOR THE HALF AND FULL GROWLER AND THE MEOWLER?

Saturday May 27, 2017 The Half-Growler, an epic single-lap race. *THE HALF-GROWLER BEGINS WITH A MASS START AT 9AM* Field limit is 350 starters. Entry fee is $105 and includes a ton of singletrack, well-stocked aid stations, a t-shirt or something else, post-race party in downtown Gunnison including a meal and beverages and finisher’s awards. HINT: Lots of locals prefer the Half-Growler because they know just how hard the Full-Growler is. Our most popular distance, the Half-Growler usually sells out quickly. Don’t procrastinate on this one.

Sunday May 28, 2017 The Full-Growler, two laps and Sunday’s Half, one lap. *BOTH EVENTS BEGIN TOGETHER WITH A MASS START AT 7AM* Combined total field limit for Sunday is 350 starters. Entry fee is $105 for the Full and Sunday’s Half and includes double a ton of singletrack, well-stocked aid stations, a t-shirt or something else, post-race party including a meal and beverages and a finisher’s award.

The Full-Growler: this is the race that started it all – the big daddy, the main event, the grand poobah. Two laps featuring most of the trails at legendary Hartman Rocks. Perhaps up to a $5,000 prize list for pros and nothing short of one of the most challenging races on the planet for experienced, trail riding mountain bikers. 

Sunday’s Half: A one lap race within the Full-Growler on Sunday May 28th. We will track and post results, including time, for Sunday’s Half, but categories will only be Men and Women Open. Sunday’s Half might be right for you if you want to race the same day as your friend or significant other who is tackling the Full-Growler but you know that you’re more of a Half-Growler kind of rider; or, the Half Growler sold out before you got around to registering and you still want to experience the amazing trail riding of The Original Growler. Sunday’s Half finishers still get Half-Growler finisher’s award, party, meal, etc. There will be no individual or age group achievement awards or rankings for Sunday’s Half, however.

HOW DIFFICULT ARE THE COURSES? LINKS TO ALL COURSE MAPS.

The Original Growler is for experienced mountain bikers only and takes place in rugged, isolated backcountry terrain. While your safety is our priority and we have a robust EMS plan and experienced and trained personnel, responding to and evacuating an injured rider could be time consuming and difficult. Riders must possess the skills and judgment necessary to assess difficult and challenging trails and roads and negotiate them in a safe manner. NO BEGINNERS, PLEASE! For comparison, the general character and difficulty of the trails and roads in the Original Growler is similar to those of the BLM Mack Ridge Trail System near Fruita, CO: Mary’s Loop, Lion’s Loop, Horsethief Loop, Steve’s Loop, etc.

Each day of racing at the 2015 Original Growler is capped at 350 riders. We could easily start 500 or more but there’s a ton of singletrack out there, much of it either fast or technical. Too many riders on course at once is not conducive to quality racing and riding. Even so, the Growler will bottleneck early in the race. Please be patient, respectful and smart if you find yourself at a standstill. Riding off of the trail to pass is not cool. Also, if a gap opens in front of you and you look back and notice that you are the engine of a long train of riders, please step off of your bike, move over and let these faster riders by. 

Both days of racing will start in downtown Gunnison by shotgun blasts. As per tradition, we will be flip-flopping the direction of travel on the course. Every trail is a completely different experience when ridden the other way! In year 2017 we’re going clockwise.

WHAT WERE LAST YEAR'S RESULTS?

The HALF-GROWLER – Usually, the winning time is plus or minus 3 hours. Take a look at the 2015  Half Growler results to see what went down and by whom. While it’s called a race, this is an exceptional course to ride for fun at any pace.

The FULL-GROWLER – Cameron Brenneman was the 2015 men’s winner in 5:09:26, while Amy Beisel crushed the ladies race in 5:46:13.  Click here for those results. Heard on the street: “But the Full-Growler is only 64 miles. I’ve done a bunch of hundies, how hard can it be?” Give it a try and find out, just bring your A-game. Once again, it’s called a race but plenty of riders take their time (maybe even take some pictures) and smell the sage and enjoy the challenging and ever-changing nature of the trails at Hartman Rocks.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE START, FINISH and PARKING?

SATURDAY’S HALF GROWLER STARTS IN DOWNTOWN GUNNISON AT 9AM SHARP.

SUNDAY’S FULL GROWLER and SUNDAY’S HALF BOTH START TOGETHER FROM DOWNTOWN GUNNISON AT 7AM SHARP.

The start is neutral behind law enforcement until you hit the dirt at Hartman Rocks. Neutral means you cannot pass the lead-out law enforcement vehicle. This law enforcement vehicle may drive slow or fast. HINT: the law enforcement vehicle usually goes pretty fast on Gold Basin road toward the dirt. The finish on the pavement is untimed but mandatory (see below for further details). Racing begins for real when you hit the dirt at the entrance to the Hartman Rocks base area. The course is about a 32-mile loop on your BLM public lands that brings riders back to the Hartman Rocks base area, where the timed finish/lap line is located.

The timed finish line is on the dirt at the Hartman Rocks base area. WE ARE NOT RACING BACK TO DOWNTOWN GUNNISON.

However, riding back to downtown Gunnison on the pavement is mandatory but untimed (continue reading for further details).

For 2017, the timed portion of all races will be completed at the Hartman Rocks base area. However, by rule, you must pedal your bike back to downtown Gunnison and check in at the symbolic finish line there. This section is untimed so you can take your time, even stopping by your campsite or hotel room first to shower, shave or to paint your toenails. Do make it back downtown, however, and check in with race staff. Growler finishers will get a finishers award. You’ll also get your meal voucher for the Great Growler Food Court, New Belgium after party and awards presentation, all taking place where you started in downtown Gunnison.

IF YOU DNF IN ANY RACE, PLEASE ALERT A COURSE VOLUNTEER OR RACE ORGANIZATION MEMBER MAKING SURE THEY GET YOUR BIB NUMBER. THANKS!

The Half, Sunday’s Half and the Full-Growlers, all start and finish in downtown Gunnison at IOOF Park (AKA, race HQ) on the NE corner of Main and Virginia. That makes for about 5 miles of dead flat pavement, 2.5 at the beginning and 2.5 at the end. Total distances are about 40 miles for the Half-Growler and 69 miles for the Full-Growler. The start on the pavement is neutral behind law enforcement and may be slow or fast. SEE ABOVE FOR A DESCRIPTION OF HOW THE GROWLER WILL FINISH.

Parking

Please, no parking on Main St. or in the first block off of Main St. These are two-hour parking spots and you will be ticketed and possibly towed. There’s plenty of street parking adjacent to the finish that’s just one block or more off of Main St. A great parking lot is two blocks west of the start across the street from the Post Office.

THE COURSE - SAY KIDS, DO YOU LIKE THE SINGLETRACK TRAILS?

The well-marked, clockwise course of around 30 miles contains loads of classic and challenging Gunnison singletrack – trails like Skull Pass, Top of the World, Rattlesnake, Ridge Trail and Joshos. You won’t be bored! The lap climbs around 4,000 vertical feet (but never more than a few hundred in one shot.) The Half-Growler and lap 1 of Sunday’s races use a slightly different starting configuration to spread the field out. Please study the map for details.

PLEASE NOTE: Parts of the Original Growler course are closed until May 15th to protect the threatened Gunnison Sage-grouse. If you preride the course prior to May 15th, please honor and respect this seasonal closure for wildlife. Many thanks!

The Original Growler course contains difficult, technically demanding, and of course, potentially dangerous, singletrack trails, double-tracks and roads. Most road and trail hazards are not marked. Riders must possess the judgment and experience necessary to evaluate the roads and trails of the Original Growler and determine the safest manner in which to negotiate them.

BLM Public Lands
All roads and trails used in the Original Growler are also open to the public and participants don’t have special preference out on the trail. Participants need to be prepared to encounter, yield to and be courteous to humans on foot, on horseback, on mountain bikes (not racing), on motorcycles, on ATV’s, in full-size vehicles, hovercraft, etc. Cattle may also be encountered while racing in the Original Growler. This is standard policy for events taking place on BLM public lands.

The Original Growler course is an isolated, backcountry route that includes numerous sections located in steep and rugged terrain where participants may be hours from medical attention and/or evacuation in the event of a serious mishap. Western State Colorado University Mountain Rescue Team provides emergency services for the Original Growler. The long-distance nature of the Growler races emphasizes the importance of adequate preparation, physical fitness and sound decision-making on the part of each participant

WHAT IF IT RAINS WHAT ABOUT LIGHTNING?

RAIN: You will most likely get wet. The Original Growler is an all weather race. It poured rain before and during the race in 2009; in 2014, it rained most of the night prior to the Full Growler and in 2015 the story was the same for the Half. The first part of the course, especially the roads, on those days certainly had their moments. However, all thing considered, Hartman Rocks rides pretty well when it’s wet. Most of the soils are non-clay, decomposed granite. The race organization and/or the BLM may cancel the race do to weather but this hasn’t happened yet! All riders need to be dressed appropriately and be prepared to ride in the conditions on race day.

LIGHTNING: Lightning is wholly unpredictable and a very common in Colorado. Each of you make your own decisions about how best to stay safe in the event of a sudden electrical storm. If lightning starts striking nearby, do whatever you need to do to stay safe. Most of these storms pass quickly.

Many trails in the Growler course are on hilltops or on large flat planes. Please be aware of the weather around you and where you are heading and make good decisions.

Canceling the race when riders are spread all over the course is not practical, not to mention impossible to communicate. We reserve the right to suspend or alter final results if thunderstorms materially alter rider’s ability to continue on without seeking cover. But, all parts of the race will stay intact and resume operations once each storm cell has passed. Ride aware at all times, especially after storms, as volunteers sometimes bail from their positions.

Follow all rules of the road and be safe and prudent if you approach an intersection, blind spot or other potentially dangerous situation while riding, that is unmarshaled.

Since these storms come and go, the course, finish line, aid stations, etc., will stay in place and active, except when they are under siege from an active electrical storm cell.

Be safe, make good decisions. Don’t let you competitiveness overrule your safety. Again, this is the Growler, not the tour de France.

HOW MANY AID STATIONS WILL BE OUT THERE?

There will be well-stocked aid-stations generally at miles 15 and 17 (Skull Pass), 30 (Hartman Rocks base area), 43 and 45 (Skull Pass). Feed zones will be well stocked. We will have Acli-Mate and Honey Stinger product,  as well as water and other food available. No bottles will be handed out so you’ll need to fill your bottles and bladders.

Two other intermediate locations on the course will have Acli-Mate and water, just enough to keep you going. As in years past, bacon, ice cold Coco-Cola and pickles may be available on course.

Crewing is discouraged on the race course. There is already a ton of action going on out there and the few cars and less traffic, the better. 

WHAT ABOUT TECHNICAL SUPPORT?

There will be basic technical support at the Hartman Rocks base area and very basic support at Skull Pass. This will include lube, a few tubes and tires, some tools and floor pump. There most likely will not be a full-service bike shop on course but the base area will have more resources.

WHERE DO I LEAVE MY DROPBAG FOR THE FULL GROWLER?

Full Growler riders only will be able to leave a small cooler or duffel bag at a designated spot near the starting line in downtown Gunnison. We will transport your bag to the lap line (Hartman Rocks base area.) These can be filled with whatever you think you might want to have at the half-way point of the race: food, drink, clothing, tubes, tools, etc.) Once you have gone through it and are back on course, we’ll transport it back to town for you. Important: Full-Growler riders: the lap line at the Hartman Rocks base area is always a confusing place. Check it out beforehand if possible. As you finish your first lap, be as aware as you can and pay attention to signage and/or course marshals trying to direct you to: the drop-bag location; the crew-feeding area; the neutral aid-station; or through the timing line to head out for your second lap

WHAT ARE THE CUTOFF TIMES FOR EACH RACE?

HALF GROWLER

Cutoff #1: If you have not arrived at the Skull Pass aid station by noon (5mph average or less), you will be asked to begin expediting your ride by not dropping into Skull Pass, and/or cutting off other sections of the course. This will mean a DNF (did not finish) in the results.

Cutoff #2: If you do not reach Gold Basin Road at the end of Bambi’s Trail by 130pm, you will be asked to begin expediting your ride by staying on the pavement all the way back to either town, or the timed finish line at the Hartman Rocks Base Area. This will mean a DNF (did not finish) in the results.

FULL GROWLER:

Cutoff #1: TBD

Cutoff #2: TBD

SUNDAY’S HALF:

Cutoff #1: TBD

THE FINISH—AM I DONE YET?

See WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE START, FINISH and PARKING? above.

WHERE IS THE AFTER-PARTY AND AWARDS?

Once you’re done and back in downtown at the starting line, you’ll be smack-dab in the middle of the Growler after party. We have food and beverages (please drink responsibly) for you and eventually, we’ll do awards. We suggest that you put your bike away securely (you might want to bring a lock for peace of mind or get it back to where you are staying or on or in your car), clean up as you like and kick back and enjoy the post-race glow and feeling of dead legs.

  • Half-Growler Party on Saturday begins around 1pm with Awards around 3pm.
  • Full-Growler and Sunday’s Half-Growler party on Sunday begins around 1pm with Awards around 5pm.
WHAT IF I DECIDE I DON'T WANT TO RACE?

Cancellations, Refunds and Transfers: TBD

Transfers: TBD

CATEGORIES, ETCETERA...

2016 CATEGORIES (subject to change):

WOMEN HALF AND FULL GROWLER – Pro; Under 18; 18-29; 30-39; 40-49; 50+; Singlespeed

MEN HALF AND FULL GROWLER – Pro; Under 18; 18-29; 30-39; 40-49; 50-59; 60+; Singlespeed.

SUNDAY’S HALF – Men; Women

Gunnison Trails holds some starting positions for sponsors, partners and race organization discretion.

OTHER HAPPENINGS AT HARTMAN’S ROCKS THE WEEKEND BEFORE:

  • May 20, 2017 – The Sage Burner Trail Running Race usually takes place the weekend prior to the Growler. Check out their website for details.
  • May 21, 2017 – The Original Meowler mountain duathlon: mountain bike, trail run, mountain bike. NEW for 2017: We are working to create the Mini Meowler, a slightly tamer version of the Original Meowler.

Gold Partners

Silver Partners

      

Bronze Partners

    

Steel Partners